Monday 31 December 2007

Christmas Traditions

Photographs of my parent's house, Christmas Day...

Heather shared some of her Christmas traditions and asked us me do to the same so...

1) A Christmas branch. I always get a fresh beautiful branch to decorate. Sometimes it is a compliment to a tree, other times it is instead of one.

2) Home-made decorations.
I always make some decorations, usually paper based but sometimes using other materials. Paper snowflakes are a regular. I really truly do love most the kind of decorations that remind me of childhood. I still treasure my silver stars made about 10yrs ago from cut card wrapped with tinfoil. I really love them even though they, or maybe because, they look like a kid made them.

3) A Stocking. Some say I am too old but I still love the thrill of a stocking at the bottom of the bed, that rustling sound, seeing the wonderful way my mothers old tights (panty hose) can magically stretch to accomodate any shape of package. My mum (Santa) has been supplying them to my brother and I even though we left home years ago and if ever she couldn't then a friend or boyfriend could usually be persuaded to fill the gap and make my day.

4) Trifle! Christmas is always an excuse to indulge in a huge home-made trifle. I tend to make to, one for friends to share and one to have all to myself so that I don't eat the one for them! I like to really ladle on the port, it reminds me of visiting my grandparents in the holidays when I was really young.

5) A Bath.
I'm a shower person for reasons of time, enrgy efficiency and money, but if I have access then I always like to have a long indulgent 2hr soak in a bath as a Christmas treat with dozens of candles, relaxing essential oils and beautiful music or an audio book.

Gosh, I typed this before Christmas and was waiting to get some images to go along with each tradition. But things didn't work out as planned and for the first time ever not one of those traditions has happened. I did get the contents of a Christmas stocking, but because I wasn't well enough to sleep over at my parent's house I didn't actually wake to a stocking.

Sunday 30 December 2007

Hens and hot air

I'm too sore to sleep so I little post seems a fitting distraction and a chance to edit some Christmas photo's. It was strange being at my parent's house on Christmas day but having no energy to 'be busy'. Instead I had time to notice things I'd made around the house. One shelf had Christmas cards I'd made, one was about 20yrs old and was painted on fabric, Id forgotten it completely until that moment. Then there was a collage card I did for Mum on the back of an envelope...

Card for Mum's birthday - old envelope, pen, felt tip, pencil, tape, tracing paper

Above are some badly photographed images of a birthday card I made for mum. I saw some cute chickens on Flickr and knew my mum would like them illustrated and patterned. As is often the case, it didn't turn out as I'd planned in my head so I thought it was shit, but I knew my mum would like it. Seeing it framed I quite like it now. It's like finding old folio pieces, you see them with fresh eyes and can appreciate them for what they are, instead of worrying what they were meant to be. Like so many things in life, we should enjoy things more at the time.

Another card that was a disappointment to me, but a hit with everyone else was for my Dad's birthday which has just passed. I had planned an elaborate papercut but with my muscles as they are it became clear (by 4.30am on his birthday, through tears and frustration) that I simply just can't do even basic paper cutting just now.

Instead I did a layered cut out card of their house, with the fields and rowan tree, each on different layers, with a hot air balloon attached by a pin so it swings when the card is moved. We got him a hot air balloon trip for his birthday, though he can't take it till later in the year. We all plan to go on it with him but until then the card will be the reminder of what is to come...

Card for Dad - photocopies on cereal boxes

Saturday 29 December 2007

Frost & fences

Hello again Liz, I forgot I also had these ones from the other week. Blurb about that day in my comments for this post.

Out in the cold

Hi Liz, a couple of frosty pics from the other week. Still not up to editing newer photo's or doing my 'white' posts but I'm determined to get something done before the year ends. Wish I could get out to take some right now, the sun is doing stunning things to the trees against a lovely sky, it looks subtle and fiery at the same time, delicious.

Saturday 22 December 2007

Happy Birthday Anna

Happy Wintery Birthday Anna!

My white post still not ready. I've been unable to do anything much since returning, my muscles and joints like glue, body like lead and so many aches... then I discovered yesterday that the liquorice my mum gave me was full of wheat! I had no idea it would have wheat in it, not a clue, and I ate a huge bag of it over 3 days. Consequently I have been unable to do anything at all, not even made a birthday card for my dad. Feel SO guilty but have no control, just have to sit it out till it clears from my system. But the White post is sitting in my drafts, it just needs all the links added, and that is the time consuming part. I may need to delay till after christmas. Must stop, hurts to type. x

Thursday 20 December 2007

Winter wishes

Wishing all of you best wishes for the holidays, whether you are in sun or snow, heat or cold, I wish you the best from frosty Scotland and thanks you for all your visits and comments this year.

I knew I wasn't going to make real cards this year, but I had hoped to at least do an e-card. Now that I'm home and I'm way too tired to face computer work so here's a rehash of an old graphic, it's not gorgeous but I think it's seasonal.

Things are looking pleasantly seasonal here, everything continues to be frosty through the day even with the sun shining, which makes for such a beautiful twinkly winter scene...sparkly sparkly, better than diamonds in my opinion. Will try to do a better post tomorrow, after some proper sleep.

Monday 17 December 2007

My work: Felt brooch 1991

Felt Brooch (detail) 1992, wool, cotton, glass beads

Mum is late picking me up so I thought I'd squeeze in a speedy post since I had access to an old drive (to get Christmas songs for the car). Ironic that I made actual jewellery when in the textiles department, but made sculpture, mostly, when in the jewellery department. I'm an awkward little miss at times!

Sunday 16 December 2007

Would you believe it, more shadows...

Papercut in architects tracing paper 1991
Based on The 4 Day Sketchbook, again!

The one above was formed with bands of cuts and I liked the way the cuts blended with the shadows. Below is a different one, I'm gueessing from cartridge paper since the shadow seems well defined, but I'm not sure, it was all packed away after taking the photo's in October.

Papercut (1991) shadow on painting (2003)

I've not had the inclination or the light to take a
ny new pics of the old work so I'm stretching these out. Your probably thinking "If I see 1 more damn papercut with cell or honeycomb structures I'll..."

I've got some full on family duties for the next few days so I probably won't post before Wednesday evening. Fingers crossed I will return to my blog with some semblance of sanity, energy and will to go on, my family can be very tiring when seen in bulk!

I'm taking lots of paper snowflakes for the window of my Uncle's room. We don't know yet if he'll be allowed out for Christmas so I want it to be less hospital looking for 2 weeks. After that it's over to Argyll to decorate the house for my Granny and Uncle. It's become a tradition that I do their decorations, wrap present for their friends and relatives and listen to Chuchter Music on Radio Argyll while clearing out of date food from their cupboards and explaining the concepts of energy efficiency while we all bake in 35° heat (hotter in the kitchen where the Aga type range is).

Ha ha, I was checking if I had spelled Chuchter correctly and discovered there is a Scottish Wikipedia. Made me laugh. Enjoy yourselves until I return. Oh, by all means continue to enjoy yourselves after I return too :0)

Saturday 15 December 2007

My work: Pic 'n' Mix 1990/94

Seed pods, Edinburgh Botanic Gardens 1992

'Quality' 1992, word based layered image
cartridge paper, tissue, tape, acetate, charcoal, ink, dictionary photocopies

I found some old plastic sleeves with photo's in them. I only took very quick snaps so you can see the reflections of light and my red top. You can click to see them larger, though they are very fuzzy.

Various Pieces from the early 90's

As well as these pics from an old file, I also found some contact sheets of other work including the following two, the 1st is a very large recycled copper pod, the second is phase one of a perpetual calendar which got left in a locker at college along with a whole ton of other work because I forgot the combination on the lock!

Copper Pod and Perpetual Calendar, 1993/94

I was so stressed after the Ceramics Dept. broke my degree show pieces that I gave up on the ceramics aspect and forgot about the locker entirely. When I returned the next year they had been emptied, so it was quite a treat to find I had a photo of this half made. I still have the little carved wax animals that were going to be cast as part of this piece, it was all tied in to animals on a medicine wheel.

I was researching moon lore and mythology which related to a lot of my work. In doing so I found out my animal totem was a Wolf and, given my love of wolves, I got a bit side-tracked by the book Earth Medicine. Reading the description of 'wolves' (Birth date Feb 19 -March 20) was the clearest most accurate description of myself I have ever read, both the good and the bad aspects of my personality. I must look it out again and see if I've changed since then.

Friday 14 December 2007

My books - pod book 1992

Pod Book: Canada 1992.
Tissue, wax, ink, handmade paper cover, thread

This translucent pages of this book look better with the sun shining through it.

Thursday 13 December 2007

Le Ballon Rouge

Francesca reminded me about The Red Balloon which I then found on You Tube in 4 parts starting here. She was right about selective memory, I had remembered the aesthetic, but little detail of the story. So much to love visually, it made a big impact on me.

I can see how my love of France developed before I had ever visited. Such a wonderful film. I love the way the balloon bounces side to side as he runs down between the houses and what he does when it is raining. And that ending, what an ending. Amélie still wins as my all time favourite French film. The French are so great at capturing the unusual.

Wednesday 12 December 2007

My metalwork - spooky fingers

Copper fingers, 1991

These look good when my hands are painted the same colour. The fingers flex a little. I appear only to have 5 left. I know one fell down a public toilet (oops!) at a fancy dress night at college on Halloween '91 but goodness knows what happened to the others over the years. Hey, just realised I got the dates wrong on my earlier posted work, I left textiles in '91 not '92 so most things should be dated one year earlier.

Been chugging out a few pre-drafted posts but wanted to tag onto this one to say thanks to everyone for your comments and emails. I seem to be getting quite a lot recently, esp emails, and though I don't have the energy just now to reply to them all but I really do enjoy hearing from you and appreciate every single one. Miss P, note for you in my comment for this post.

Lucy home again

Lucy, May 2007

Old photo, a print I did in May which I may have already show...sorry, in a rush. Good news is Lucy is back, though still undiagnosed and losing a lot of hair. But she's eating again, a little, and finally did a poo today! Too much info, I know, but we were so thrilled as nothing since last week. On sunday she was being given water through a syringe to get her to drink. All v. worrying but she has perked up a little, though still very tired. Must dash, she's on timed small feeds. Thanks for all your kind words for her.

Tuesday 11 December 2007

My work - papercut in blue 1991 test piece

Papercut test piece in typing paper 1991
Digitally altered colour

Yeh, I'm still needing the blue.
No word on Lucy yet. I hate waiting. This is the hard part about 'sharing' a dog, the person who pays the bills gets all the vet info, they won't tell me anything and it's driving me crazy. I feel bad because her 'proper' owner is a really easily stressed person and I know she wants me to be supportive through this, but I literally don't have the energy - she's pretty intense and not very aware of other people's needs when she's hysterical, which is a lot of the time so whenever I deal with her I end up utterly exhausted and in lots of pain. I just have to sit here hoping she'll text me some news. The sun is shining again, oh, Lucy would have loved playing with her doggy friend in the field today.

Monday 10 December 2007

My work - papercut in blue

Papercut from 'The Growth of Plants' 1991/'92
Digitally altered colour

Inverted the colour in photoshop purely because I wanted some more blue and I haven't any new photo's for you. Poor Lucy isn't well, her hair is falling out and over the weekend she stopped drinking water. She's at the vet now and staying overnight in hopes they can work out what is wrong :(

Sunday 9 December 2007

My books - seaweed/biology papercut 1992

Handmade papercut book: paper, ink, thread

I just liked the way this handmade book looked against the TV screen, it's not actually blue in normal light. This is the closest I've got to showing you my more interesting handmade books (other than sketchbooks) but even here you can't actually see the contents. I'm such a paper tease!
I've got stacks and stacks of books, not necessarily like this one, and a plan to use them in a collaboration with a some talented people in the future.

Saturday 8 December 2007

October sunset

I finally got a visit to the beach this year in October. Well, not actually the beach as I couldn't walk beyond the car at the time, but I was really really close to the beach near Gullane. We parked as close to the shore as we could get and watched the geese gathering in their 1000's over the estuary. The sound was amazing and carried over the water in a way that always make me think of late summer.

As the sun began to dip we headed back and parked near Longniddry (I think) only 30ft from a stoney part of shoreline where I just had to get out to take a few photo's of the sunset colours with Arthur's Seat in the background. The plants growing over some shore rocks looked like a hybrid between a land plant and a seaweed, and echoed the sunset colours nicely...

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Poolside grille

From a grill at the outdoor pool in Gourock last month.

Monday 3 December 2007

My crochet, a silly song & fire warning

Crochet Cells No.5 with shadow (detail): Started 1992
Picked up again and growing 2007

Long forgotten crochet (among other things) has been found and is now been continued. Ihave to thank Marjojo for reminding me that crochet is something easy-ish to work on when you're not well, particularly the freeform type that I like where counting chains is not essential.

Crochet Cells No.5 (detail): Started 1992
Picked up again and growing 2007

What I want is to work on papercuts, drawings, prints and sewn pieces, but they all require my hands, energy and concentration to be good which is simply unrealistic at the moment. This piece of crochet (abandoned when I left the textiles dept. in '92) can be done in darkness, under the covers, in small bursts. I don't have to lift my arms at all - perfect.

Mr P's cat to give you some scale
(before he attacked and tried to eat it)

I've always been bad at starting things and not finishing, so I'm really liking the thought that I can finish some old work. Not that I ever really finish anything, as long as pieces are in my possession they will always undergo various reincarnations, being incorporated into other works, being painted, or dyed, stretch, cut or melted, the list goes on. My tutor Ann Marie Shillito (now teaching at ECA), was the first person to grasp the evolving nature of my work and let me know it was ok to work that way.

It will be interesting to see how this piece changes from the original vision. It was planned as a piece that would be felted when finished and would stretch across a room from one wall to the other - inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's twig wall at the Botanic Gardens in 1991. But now it may develop differently, I plan to take it for a beachy photoshoot as soon as I am well enough.

I don't have access to my photo's of Andy Goldsworthy's original twig wall so here is one he did this year...(via Chris Wright)...

Andy Goldsworthy: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2007
Exhibition ends early Jan 2008

As I uncover more and more work from '92, '93 it is so clear the enormous influence Andy Goldsworthy had on me, and he still does. More on that as I reveal further pieces (still struggling with the shyness and secretiveness).

Now, entirely unrelated... I think we've established that I don't get out much, which may go some way to explaining why I laughed so much at 'the Ebay song' when it suddenly began to play during a search today. I've never heard it before and I was groaning that one of my tabs was playing boy band music, then I realised it was a spoof and loved it. I searched for it on You Tube, here it is for anyone who feels like some cheesy listening.

About my email: It seems nothing has been getting through to my Big Fish account since August so if you've mailed me there I probably never received it unless you CC'd to one of my other emails also. As always, the easiest way to reach me initially is right here on my blog and I can try to get back to you with an up to date address, though I am still struggling a bit to keep up with correspondence just now, but I do try.

One last piece of news, I accidentally came across these images of fire damage (sculpturally beautiful but actually terrifying) on Five Gallon Bucket. An earlier post has some important information on keeping your house and possesions fire safe, like apparently everything they had in suitcases was ok and smoke alarms need completely replaced every 10 years, not just the batteries, the whole unit. Read more here. I feel so bad for them to lose their things, their home, their pets. It makes you aware of the things you do have, your life, your friends/family, your memories and hopefully for most people, your health.

Ok, enough writing, can you tell I am avoiding some really pressing (or perhaps depressing) form filling and financial dealings. I hate when other people mess up, but hate even more when I don't deal with it as soon as it happens. Time to pull the finger out.

Sunday 2 December 2007

Sandra Backlund - textiles

Sandra Backlund: Don't Walk
Photo: Denise Grunstein, Cameralink

Styling: Karen Smeds

sculptural approach Sandra Backlund takes to her knitting. I also love the styling and photography on this 'Don't Walk' collection.

I hadn't realised my photo from my recent tag, 5 random/weird things, had disappeared. I've popped it back on and added another one (with a wig) as a bonus to anyone who revists it.

Saturday 1 December 2007

December already

This is Mr P's cat doing an impression of Marley sleeping on his own face. I think he was simply overcome by the speed at which the months are flying by. December already, scary. One minute it was May and then we blinked, got wet, had a little sunshine, blinked again and suddenly there are Christmas lights being switched on all over the place. Nice to hear that so many places are using solar powered lights this year.

I'd love to get some solar LED's for the tree in my garden but I'm not keen on the blue-ish light from the cheap LED's and the ones with the pure white light cost to much just now. Hopefully the prices will have dropped by next year. Speaking of energy saving light bulbs, I finally found somewhere that sells dimmable eco-bulbs and daylight (full spectrum) eco bulbs - Nigel's Eco Store.

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